It has been confirmed by Ballinamallard Utd that they will play in this year’s Irish Cup competition which is scheduled to kick-off on 1 May.
Ballinamallard Utd chairman, Tom Elliott told the Fermanagh Herald this morning (Friday) that following their consultation process with players and management, “they would feel reasonably comfortable if they can get back at the beginning of April” to training, then they will play in the first round.
Last week, Tom Elliott had implored NIFL and the IFA to lobby government officials to ease restrictions for the twenty clubs who do not have ‘elite’ status but are part of the Irish Cup competition, to be allowed to resume training on 18 March.
This morning, Elliott was resigned to the fact that this was now highly unlikely but would be happy to proceed if they got four weeks training under their belt before the competition starts in May.
A statement released by the Ballinamallard FC this afternoon said;
“This week we consulted with the Club players, manager, coaches and committee and our considered view from those discussions is that it is the intention of Ballinamallard United FC to participate in this season’s Irish Cup and a regionalised cup, provided there is a reasonable timescale to facilitate our players with a sufficient level of training and match preparation prior to any competitive games.”
Ballinamallard’s opponents Dergview are still undecided about their participation but plan to make a decision this weekend.
Dergview manager Ivan Sproule told the Fermanagh Herald that there “is a meeting happening today (Friday) and we will make a decision.
“There is a lot of consideration being put into it, but we’ll do it for the right reasons of the players and the right reasons of the club.
“The Irish Cup is a special Cup for the Irish league calendar, like every other country, when it’s the major Cup. All I can say on it is, it’s been a difficult job for everyone in power making these decisions but all I can say is that we have all felt that the championship clubs have been neglected and yes, there is two leagues below us as well, who are run through NIFL, who feel as if they have been badly treated as well. But we are the second highest league in this country and we did feel as if we should have been up and going along with the Irish Premiership.
“For me, they’re trying to get the showpiece going at the end of the calendar season and they want the 32 teams to play in it to have the Cup in general to have any respectability, but for me it’s one of those ones, we’re going to have to wait and see how it pans out. Our decision has not been made but we will make it very shortly.”
Asked what his own personal view on it is, he said;
“I’ve said all along, if I play in the Irish Cup this year my interest in it will be ‘light’. I’m taking a team in that are so unprepared, that are so far behind to what the teams will be if we progress on through the rounds.”
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Posted: 2:37 pm March 5, 2021